What a difference a year makes. When Brian Gibbons scored on a shorthanded penalty shot on Oct. 28 against the Arizona Coyotes, the first-year New Jersey Devils forward not only knotted the game at one goal each, but also matched his career goal total entering the 2017-18 campaign with his fifth tally of the season.
Two games later, Gibbons, who turns 30 years old on Feb. 26, exceeded it with his marker in Edmonton against the Oilers.
What makes this all the more impressive is just one autumn prior, Gibbons was barely a blip on any team’s radar, a man without a contract, simply hoping he’d be able to seize someone’s attention long enough to earn one after a subpar season with the American Hockey League’s Hartford Wolf Pack. He was at least afforded that opportunity when the Devils signed him to a professional tryout contract prior to the 2016-17 training camp.